A Healthy New Year means…Exercise!

Holly Michael:

My blog over at Writing Prompts…an inspiring blog for writers

Originally posted on Writing Prompts &Thoughts & Ideas...Oh My!:

Age-Appropriate Exercise for a Writer by Holly Michael

10477885_2449505157705_5786971314081009657_n“Can you find my old rollerblades?” Jake, my twenty-five year old son asked, during a recent visit home with fiancé, Emma. (Jake is a professional athlete, an NFL player. Emma is a coach/personal trainer/fitness blogger-that’s Jake and Emma in the photo)

I retreated to the basement and dug out Jake’s size fourteen rollerblades that I had special ordered when he was in the fifth grade. (Yeah, he was a big boy then, too).

I also found my old rollerblades and wondered…if I could sell them on eBay. Hey, at my age, my rollerblading days were long over. But, back in the day, I’d slip on those wheels nearly every day and race the kids on their bikes and scooters around the neighborhood.

Hanging out with my athletic cutie-pies over the holidays, including daughter Betsy (grad student) and son Nick (tight end with the…

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France…a spiritually uplifting trip

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Sad to hear the news of the terrorism in France. My husband and I were just there in November–in Lourdes, a few days stop-over our way to India. The visit was amazing and spiritually refreshing.

Given the sadness of the muslim extremist’s attacks on Paris, thought it would be a good time to share some photos of the beauty and spirituality of France, in Lourdes, about a seven hour drive south of Paris.

A view from the top of Chateau fort de Lourdes

A view from the top of Chateau fort de Lourdes and below, looking up at the castle.

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More views from the top of the castle

More views from the top of the castle

climbing a steep staircase to the top of the castle

climbing a steep staircase to the top of the castle

Love the narrow, quiet streets. Me and My husband, Bishop Leo Michael

Love the narrow, quiet streets. Me and My husband, Anglican Bishop Leo Michael

Our wonderful friends, Elisa Amati and her husband Father Don Luca drove all the way from Northern Italy to join us. We had a blast!

Our wonderful friends, Elisa Amati and her husband Father Luca de Pero drove all the way from Northern Italy – about 15 hours drive – to join us. We had a blast!

Streets of France

Streets of France. Elisa had a map. We would find our restaurant!

My husband, Bishop Leo Michael, Me, Father Don Luca, and his wife, Elisa Amati at the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto

My husband, Bishop Leo Michael, Me, Father Luca de Pero, and his wife, Elisa Amati at the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto

Our Lady of Lourdes grotto was our planned destination and it was an incredible spiritual experience. More photos:

In 1858 Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old peasant girl said that a "lady" spoke to her in the cave of Massabielle (a mile from the town) while she was gathering firewood with her sister and a friend. Similar apparitions of the alleged "Lady" were reported on seventeen occasions that year, until the climax revelation of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception took place. Bernadette Soubirous was later canonized as a Saint, and many believe her apparitions have been validated by the overwhelming popularity and testament of healings claimed to have taken place at the Lourdes water spring.

In 1858 Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old peasant girl said that a “lady” spoke to her in the cave of Massabielle (a mile from the town) while she was gathering firewood with her sister and a friend. Similar apparitions of the alleged “Lady” were reported on seventeen occasions that year, until the climax revelation of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception took place. Bernadette Soubirous was later canonized as a Saint, and many believe her apparitions have been validated by the overwhelming testament of healings claimed to have taken place at the Lourdes water spring.

Bernadette

Bernadette Soubirous

Night at the grotto

Night at the grotto

An amazing blessing. Look to the left of the statue, considering the crevice a mouth. Do you see the face of Christ. We only saw this on our last night at the grotto

An amazing blessing. Look to the left of the statue, considering the crevice a mouth. Do you see the face of Christ? We only saw this on our last night at the grotto. Peace and Holy Spirit filled this beautiful holy place.

During one of the apparitions, Bernadette was told to by Our Lady "go drink at the spring and wash yourself there". Shortly after the first pilgrimages began Louis Bouriette was cured. He had lost his vision and washed in the miraculous water where he regained his vision.

During one of the apparitions, Bernadette was told to by Our Lady “go drink at the spring and wash yourself there”. At the time, the spot above place was nothing but a place in the dirt. Then, the spring miraculous bubbled up. Shortly after the first pilgrimages began Louis Bouriette was cured. He had lost his vision and washed in the miraculous water where he regained his vision. Through the years, many have been cured at the miraculous water of Lourdes. The water still runs and pilgrims can collect the water at faucets near the grotto.

The Basilica of Lourdes

The Basilica of Lourdes, built over the top of the grotto

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Where Bernadette was baptized

Where Bernadette was baptized

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My husband and Father Don Luca celebrating Mass.

My husband and Father Luca de Pero celebrating Mass

Father Don Luca and Elisa

Father Luca de Pero and Elisa

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Saints everywhere :-)

Saints everywhere :-)

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Father Don Luca and Bishop Leo Michael walking up the hills toward the stations of the cross

Father Luca de Pero and Bishop Leo Michael walking up the hills toward the stations of the cross

Speaking of the Stations of the Cross, I plan to write and publish a Stations of the Cross book using some of my photos from Lourdes. Really excited about that project.  I’m also working toward finishing my sequel to Crooked Lines. (below)

Beautiful beach and seaAfter we left Lourdes, we went to South India to visit the places and people we helped after the 2004 Tsunami. After returning home, I published my then and now book, Tsunami 2004 – Still Wading through Waves of Hope. Some fascinating stories and pictures from the time of the 2004 Tsunami and after. We’d helped more than two hundred orphans after a national fundraising event. It was really great to return ten years later and visit the people and places and write their stories. Tsunami 2004 is now available on Amazon in Kindle and in print.

While in India, on our follow-up trip, we faced a horrific experience when my husband contracted dengue fever from a mosquito bite and nearly died. But, then and now, we held onto those peaceful blessed days at Lourdes and the wonderful fellowship with Father Don Luca and Elisa. ***

bookFor this weekend Crooked Lines, my novel, is on sale for .99 CENTS. Here’s the blurb: On the shores of Lake Michigan, Rebecca Meyer seeks escape. Guilt-ridden over her little sister’s death, she sets her heart on India, a symbol of peace. Across the ocean in South India, Sagai Raj leaves his tranquil hill station home and impoverished family to answer a higher calling. Pushing through diverse cultural and religious milieus, he labors toward his goals, while wrong turns and bad choices block Rebecca from hers.
Traveling similar paths and bridged across oceans through a priest, the two desire peace and their divine destiny. But vows and blind obedience at all costs must be weighed…and buried memories, unearthed.

It’s My Birthday…

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…so, I put CROOKED LINES, A Novel for sale  @ .99 cents. http://amzn.to/1r4gTrT AND its #1 in Inspirational, Fiction, Family on AMAZON.COM

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Happy because…had a great time with the kiddos. Congrats to Jake on his engagement to Emma, on his right. (Just love her). Daughter Betsy (WTG 4.0 in Grad School) to the left of Jake. My husband, Bishop Leo Michael, to my right and Nick (WTG Winning the New Orleans Bowl! Go Ragin Cajuns). Nick is the bookend wearing the hat.

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Counting my blessings at the beginning of 2015. There are so many. Started it out with a newly published book after our return from India. Tsunami 2004 Still Wading Through Waves of Hope: http://amzn.to/1AbgKXD

Beautiful beach and seaFeeling grateful to God that my husband survived dengue fever which resulted in a multi-organ failure situation. Truly, only prayers turned that around. We were at the tail end of a ten-year follow-up with the orphan children we helped after the 2004 tsunami. (thanks to those who gave during major fundraising effort back in 2004)

In the end, got the nonfiction book wrote and published. Tsunami 2004 – Wading through Waves of Hope is filled with inspirational then and now stories as we revisited the places and people in Nagapattinam, South India. $2.99 Kindle, $6.99 print.  http://amzn.to/1AbgKXD

Hope to get back to more blogging this year where I focus on connecting with others. Thanks for following my blog.

Holly

DEC 26th NEW RELEASE: TSUNAMI 2004 – Still Wading Through Waves of Hope

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Beautiful beach and sea“Send us to the most devastated remote villages where no one else has gone.”

My husband’s request diverted my attention from the lizards on the wall. Those creepy-crawlies and India’s lack of toilet paper would be the least of my worries during this trip to India, just ten days after the 2004 Tsunami.

When the 2004 Tsunami roared onto the shores of the Bay of Bengal, my husband Bishop Leo Michael, spearheaded a very successful national fundraising event. He promised to take 100% of the contributions to the most affected tsunami victims in the worst decimated areas around Nagapattinam, South India.

photo by Holly Michael

photo by Holly Michael

Children of Akkarapettai photo by Holly Michael

Children of Akkarapettai photo by Holly Michael

A pastor and native of South India, he had worked around the affected coastal region for more than twenty years. He understood the living conditions of the fisherfolk and could well imagine the horrible aftermath of the monster wave that took the lives of tens of thousands.

Being a former journalist, and current freelance magazine writer on assignment, I geared up to trek into impassable villages with my husband where the dead still washed up on the shoreline and massive cremation fires still burned.

photo by Holly Michael

photo by Holly Michael

Surveying each village and coordinating with the local headmen, priests, and one amazing school headmaster, my husband devised unique plans to help each community.

Giving bank certificate of deposits to the orphans of each community was one part of our help that paid back in greater dividends later.

photo by Bishop Leo Michael

photo by Bishop Leo Michael

Prior to the anniversary of the tsunami, in December 2014, we returned to the same villages and met the same orphans who would cash in their CD’s days later.

We encountered surprising changes, gleaned  deeper insight into the lives of the fisherfolk and tsunami survivors, and got slammed with an unexpected life-threatening situation.

Follow our journey in my THEN and NOW nonfiction book, TSUNAMI 2004 – Still Wading Through Waves of Hope published today on the tsunami anniversary, December 26, 2014 and available on Kindle. CLICK HERE $2.99 LINK Available in paperback soon!

Like Fiction?

bookMy debut novel, CROOKED LINES, inspired by both my husband and my experiences in India, is now on sale at Amazon for a limited time at $2.99.

Back cover blurb: On the shores of Lake Michigan, Rebecca Meyer seeks escape. Guilt-ridden over her little sister’s death, she sets her heart on India, a symbol of peace. Across the ocean in South India, Sagai Raj leaves his tranquil hill station home and impoverished family to answer a higher calling. Pushing through diverse cultural and religious milieus, he labors toward his goals, while wrong turns and bad choices block Rebecca from hers. Traveling similar paths and bridged across oceans through a priest, the two desire peace and their divine destiny. But vows and blind obedience at all costs must be weighed…and buried memories, unearthed.

Crooked Lines, a beautifully crafted debut novel, threads the lives of two determined souls from different continents and cultures. Compelling characters struggle with spirituality through despair and deceptions in search of truth. Crooked Lines has already reached #1 in Inspirational Fiction Category on Amazon.

Coming up by Holly Michael:

CROSSED LINES, a sequel to Crooked Lines, is slated for a June release. (Fiction)

FIRST AND GOAL: What Football Taught Me About Never Giving UP. My son (NFL player with type one diabetes) and I co-authored this devotional, published by Harvest House Publishers, and scheduled to be released in the fall of 2015.

Tsunami

Holly Michael:

Tsunami, ten years later…

Originally posted on Naty Matos' Blog:

By Holly Michael

Landing in South India, ten days after the 2004 tsunami, my husband said to our contact there, “Send us to the worst affected area, where no agency or person has yet provided help.”

Already weary from nearly thirty hours of travel, I mentally geared up for mission work. My husband, a pastor and native of Tamil Nadu, South India hadtsunami lived and worked in the affected region for more than twenty years and was aware of the living conditions of the fisher folks in the remote seaside villages. He was certain we’d find decimation and desperation.

Back home in Arkansas, we had raised a large sum of money during a week-long, major fund-raising event. As a freelancer for a Guideposts magazine, I planned to cover the story of a teenage survivor. My husband’s predictions rang true and I had no idea how difficult, yet fulfilling, this experience…

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One Day Deal: Be Inspired For a Cause!

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Super “one day” deal for a cause. Just for today, Saturday, October 18th, CROOKED LINES is on sale (kindle version) for only $2.99!

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And guess what? For just $2.99 you support our Nagapattinam Mission Project and get a deal on a great book. (Crooked Lines reached #1 in inspirational fiction category and is getting awesome five star reviews).

About the Nagapattinam Project: Nearly ten years ago, Christmas Day evening, the phone rang. My husband’s brother DeCruze, calling from India. A Tsunami struck the coastline. Thousands were feared dead (Thank God, our family living inland were all okay).

The next day, a local newspaper reporter who knew my husband was from India called for an interview.

“What would you like to do?” the reporter asked.

“Raise funds, go to India, and help. Every penny given will go directly to the victims.”

My husband has a heart for the Lord, but sometimes his zeal means that I need to gear up for what might come next. Walking out of the newspaper office, I questioned my husband, “Do you know what you just committed to?”

He did and meant every word. The church flew into fundraising-mode. The community and beyond opened their hearts and purses. More than seventy thousand dollars was raised.

Ten days after the tsunami we were in Nagapatinnam, Tamil Nadu, South India. My husband said to our contact, “Send us to the worst affected areas, the poorest, most remote villages, where there’s been no help.”

Weary from nearly thirty hours of travel, again, I mentally geared up for what would come next. My husband, having lived and worked in the affected region for many years, explained that the poor fishing villages—huts with thatched coconut leaf roofs—would be wiped out. Many lives would be lost. The survivors would need a lot of help. Helping, doing some good, always makes the challenges easier.

Photo by Holly Michael

Bishop Leo Michael counsels Photo by Holly Michael

My husband’s predictions rang true and I had no idea how difficult, yet fulfilling, this experience would be.

As a freelancer for a Guideposts magazine, I had an assignment to cover the story of a teenage survivor, Tamalarisa, below.

Photo by Holly Michael, Tamilarisa in the remains of her home

Photo by Holly Michael, Tamilarisa in the remains of her home

We provided immediate assistance and helped many tsunami orphans. We arranged for the village headman to bring the children to the local bank where we identified them and put funds in CD’s to be collected ten years later (2014). This would give them money to begin their lives as adults. We also provided a couple of fishing boats for the villages, as their boats were destroyed, and fishing was their only livelihood.

Photo by Holly Michael

Photo by Holly Michael

Orphaned by the 2004 Tsunami, photo by Holly Michael

Orphaned by the 2004 Tsunami, photo by Holly Michael

We returned a year later and offered more help.

Nearly ten years later, we are preparing to return to Nagapattinam for a follow-up visit. On the ten-year anniversary, December 26th, 2014, I’ll publish, Tsunami 2004: Then and Now. Devastation from the Sea. Help from Beyond. (Working Title).

I’m excited to return and see how the children–now adults–are doing and discover their future plans. I’m also curious to see how the once decimated villages have recovered. We want to show them we still care.

This past July, I released Crooked Lines, my debut novel. It threads the lives of two determined souls from different continents and cultures. They struggle with spirituality through despair and deceptions in search of truth.

Here’s my back cover blurb: On the shores of Lake Michigan, Rebecca Meyer seeks escape. Guilt-ridden over her little sister’s death, she sets her heart on India, a symbol of peace. Across the ocean in South India, Sagai Raj leaves his tranquil hill station home and impoverished family to answer a higher calling. Pushing through diverse cultural and religious milieus, he labors toward his goals, while wrong turns and bad choices block Rebecca from hers. Traveling similar paths and bridged across oceans through a priest, the two desire peace and their divine destiny. But vows and blind obedience at all costs must be weighed…and buried memories, unearthed.

Please take advantage of today’s sale and purchase Crooked Lines for $2.99 to support our Nagapattinam Project and help us on this Mission Trip. If you don’t have a Kindle, consider purchasing a print version of the book. Or you can download a Kindle app for free for your smart phone, tablet, or PC. Gift a copy to a friend. It all helps, and I hope to show this results of this help in the book to be published on the anniversary of the tsunami.

Click here to purchase Crooked Lines

Other ways you can help:

1. Please click to share below, twitter, Facebook, etc.

2. Sign up for my newsletter for further news on my books: releases, news, etc. Click Here

3.  Visit my Facebook page and share from there: Click Here

Thanks for your support! Gotta go pack now!! Please keep us in your prayers!

First newsletter…and guess what? Some BIG news!

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Just published my very first Mail Chimp newsletter. Huge challenge for my non-techy-hate-learning-new-stuff-brain, but I got ‘er done! Still trying to figure out how to add a sign-up form on my blog and website, but, for now and for those who haven’t signed up for my newsletter, here’s my exciting news in old school cut and paste method from the newsletter (and a link below to get future issues of the real thing).

First, the banner of the newsletter. It doesn’t have a fancy newsletter name, but oh well.

Hollybanner (1) Ok…here’s the news:

Nagapattinam: Ten Years after the Tsunami

“Send us to the worst affected areas, the poorest, most remote villages, where there’s been no help.” ~ Bishop Leo Michael

My husband spoke those words nearly ten years ago when we landed in South India, just days after the 2004 tsunami. He had once lived and worked in the region and knew of the fisher-folk’s living conditions and the havoc a gigantic wave could wreak on a village with homes built of sticks and coconut-thatched roofs.

I mentally geared up for mission work, but had no idea how difficult, yet fulfilling, the experience would prove to be.

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Now, ten years later, we are preparing to leave for South India for a follow-up visit to the places and people helped from the generosity of America, after a 2004 major fundraising event. (I gotta pack soon).

Funds were used to help rebuild the villages and to provide many orphans with local bank CD’s (to mature in ten years).

Now, the children are ready to collect their money and begin their adult lives. I’m so excited to go back and meet these young people and write their stories. I’ll compile a “then and now” short book (with photos) and release it on the anniversary of the tsunami: December 26, 2014. (Tsunami 2004: Then and Now. Devastation from the Sea. Help from Beyond. – Working Title).

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Though both Crooked Lines and the sequel include experiences in the Nagapattinam seaside villages and some life experiences of mine and my husbands, both are works of fiction. Release date for the sequel is planned for February 2015, hopefully Valentines Day.

Here’s the first paragraph of the sequel to Crooked Lines. (Crossed Lines-working title…do you like that title? Let me know in the comments.): Like swirls of smoke from incense, smoldering heaps sent the remains of the dead up to God. I turned away from the distant piles of burning bodies. Nagapattinam, two weeks after the tsunami, wasn’t the India I’d been imagining for the past twenty years. Yet, every storm that swept into my life since I was a teenager had prepared me for this time and place. 

photo by Holly Michael

And in case you haven’t gotten Crooked Lines (reached #1 spot in inspirational fiction on Amazon) here’s the back-cover blurb: On the shores of Lake Michigan, Rebecca Meyer seeks escape. Guilt-ridden over her little sister’s death, she sets her heart on India, a symbol of peace. Across the ocean in South India, Sagai Raj leaves his tranquil hill station home and impoverished family to answer a higher calling. Pushing through diverse cultural and religious milieus, he labors toward his goals, while wrong turns and bad choices block Rebecca from hers. Traveling similar paths and bridged across oceans through a priest, the two desire peace and their divine destiny. But vows and blind obedience at all costs must be weighed…and buried memories, unearthed.

Crooked3 (1)So…for occasional brief and newsy updates about book release dates, sales, etc., here’s the link to sign up for my newsletter: CLICK HERE. Why not?

Thanks! AND, HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP: PURCHASE CROOKED LINES NOW AND PROCEEDS FROM SALES FOR THE REST OF OCTOBER AND ALL OF NOVEMBER WILL HELP FUND THE ONGOING PROJECT. THE NEED FOR HELP IS ALWAYS GREAT IN THE POOR FISHING VILLAGES IN NAGAPATTINAM. Click HERE to purchase Crooked Lines

Guest Post: Connie Almony Solves Problems for Indie Authors & Readers of Christian Fiction

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headshot1 (1)Hi, my name is Connie Almony and I am a creative problem solver. If you give me a problem that should be solved, I will shake inside until it is. That’s just how my brain works, and THAT’s why I created the Indie Christian Fiction Search site—Ickfuss (ICFS) to its friends. I saw a problem and I had to solve it.

The Problem …

What was the problem, you ask? Well, there were a few.

1) Avid readers needed to find loads of books that would feed their insatiable need and target their interests, all without breaking the bank.

2) Christian readers needed to find a greater breadth of story, not often available through traditionally published books, while being within a biblical framework.

3) Christian readers needed extra information—that which is often missing from online retailers—before making the decision to buy.

4) Readers needed a way to search through lots of material that is easy, non-cumbersome and directs them right to books that interest them through search criteria and scrolling mechanisms that allow the reader to sift quickly through blurb excerpts.

Why were these my problems to solve? Well, because I knew it could be done, and yet no one was doing it.

The Focus …

Why focus on indie fiction, you ask? … (Sigh) … My, but you’re an inquisitive group!

I haven’t always been an ardent supporter of indie fiction. I believe an author is well served when many eyes see her work before it is published. I also believe any product is best when it is formed by a group of people using their unique gifts (ie. The Body of Christ). So Indie always looked like someone who just didn’t want to play by the rules. (God often humbles me when I get too opinionated). I worried the work would suffer for it. But then the new era of indie publishing steam-rolled into being. A world of critique partners, beta readers, freelance editors and cover artists, Facebook writers’ groups, search engines and social media platforms. Not to mention the low cost (I mean, how much lower than $0 can you get) of uploading your ebook to an online retailer. All these factors increased the ability to create a better quality book with a smaller investment.

The game has changed, and so has the breadth and quality of fiction.

I didn’t mean to be an indie author myself. I sort of got conned into it by my critique partner, Mildred Colvin, and discovered there is a world of fiction out there that is feeding a need not met by the traditional houses. I have found a plethora of Christian fiction which has been deemed unsellable by publishers for a variety of reasons, be they time period (medieval), character choices (Viking, pirate, multi-cultural), settings (universities, cities, space) or subject matter (mistresses, drug addiction), and discovered worlds like the one in which I live, replete with sinners in need of a Savior. Additionally, I discovered that many of my favorite authors, when given the chance to write from their hearts instead of a marketing team’s idea of what “the public” wants, are EVEN BETTER when writing this way. Yes, you read that right—EVEN BETTER. And as an avid reader, indie fiction is a lot less traumatic to my credit card.

Quality of Writing or Marketing Guts?

So what’s not to like?

I’ll tell you what? Many are concerned that because indie authors have not been vetted by the process of acquiring an agent or catching the eye of an editor, their work is not as good. The truth is I STILL suggest authors go through this process and hone their craft, before making the jump. But there is a point where the author realizes it’s not the craft, but the perception of the general marketplace that is holding him back from publication. Yes, it is nice to have someone “important” like you, but just because that someone doesn’t like you, doesn’t mean the rest of the world must ignore you as well. Many novels are rejected because the theme of their work has not been tested in the marketplace. However, in these tough times of the publishing industry it is likely nothing new will be tested until someone has the guts to do so. Therefore, lots of extraordinary ideas fall by the wayside.

Not with indie!

With indie publishing the READER is the gatekeeper, not the executive, nor the marketing team—honest-to-goodness readers who have a love for the written word, and a great story, just like you do. Independent authors often offer early books cheap (and even free) so YOU, the reader, can get a sense of who they are and what they write. Then YOU can decide whether or not you want to continue reading them.

It’s just a matter of finding this new breed of author.

Sifting Through the Muck …

But there is another problem. Traditional Christian publishing didn’t just vet for quality, it also vetted for biblical content. If you’ve ever gone “church shopping” in a very secular area (as I have) and you’ve seen the variety of agenda’s that come from groups that label themselves “Christian,” you will know not all people wearing that moniker promote the same sort of faith. In fact, in one of our independent author Facebook discussions, one of our members found a “Christian” group writing very decadent—and painful—forms of erotica. In these gate-keeper-less times, someone needs to step up and help us wade through the muck. Indie Christian Fiction Search (ICFS) is designed, asking the author to ensure a level of standard outlined in its Statement of Faith and Content guidelines, while informing the reader so he or she can make a decision as to whether or not the book is right for them. I also hope readers will return to ICFS to comment on books they found either exceptionally inspiring or not quite their cup of tea—respectfully, of course. Again, the reader is King here!

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Finding the Right Books for You…

So now readers will have access to information on a larger breadth of biblically-centered fiction in one place. The next trick is how to search through all the titles to find the one for you.

This is the fun part!

I had a vision from God. Or at least, my mind kept playing images of an old template I’d used for my blog and the many “views” it allowed that would make a quick search of a large amount of material very easy. So I decided to try it out by posting a bunch of friends’ books to the site. I’d been pondering how to do this because, frankly, I find most book retailer sites cumbersome and less fine-tuned to my needs, requiring lots of clicks into things I eventually have no use for. The largest online book retailer comes close, but does not allow for a page full of blurbs under search criteria ready to be scanned. It only gives a page of book titles, cover art and price. With Indie Christian Fiction Search (ICFS), you can plug in search criteria and watch the cover art float across the page.

Sidebar View--edIt’s really cool :o)!!!

Then you can change the “view” of the site and scroll through book blurbs selected by genre or search criteria and pick through the ones that look good to you. There are a number of ways to do this. It’s just a matter of finding the one view that works best for you.

So if you are an independent Christian fiction author and would like to have your novel listed on Indie Christian Fiction Search (ICFS), please enter the site, read through the Statement of Faith and Author Guidelines, and if it’s a good fit—submit. Please review the guidelines each time, as they may change. I will be adjusting things to streamline the site’s functionality.

Dynamic Views

If you are a READER, looking for something reasonably priced and potentially unique, please check out the “How to Use This Site” page and see how much fun a book search can be.

Try out all the views and feel free to tell me what works best for you. Indie Christian Fiction Search (ICFS) will be growing vastly over the next few months so make sure you drop by again. There is also a newsletter you can sign up for that will include links to new titles, and hot-picks, keeping you regularly informed of the latest in indie Christian fiction. I promise, it will not be sent out more often than quarterly. And don’t forget to come back and let us know what you think about the books you read. Remember, YOU are the gatekeeper. YOU have the power. Use it wisely ;o).

Sign up for the newsletter NOW and be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card. The winner will be announced on November 1, 2014.

Connie Almony is trained as a mental health therapist and likes to mix a little fun with the serious stuff of life. She was a 2012 semi-finalist in the Genesis Contest for Women’s Fiction and was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Winter 2012 WOW Flash Fiction Contest. Her newest release, At the Edge of a Dark Forest, is a modern-day re-telling of Beauty and the Beast about a war-vet, amputee struggling with PTSD.

You can find Connie on the web at ConnieAlmony.com, writing book reviews for Jesus Freak Hideout, and hosting the following blogs: InfiniteCharacters.com, IndieChristianFictionSearch.Blogspot.com, and LivingtheBodyofChrist.Blogspot.com.

You can also meet her on the following social media outlets:

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

John 14:19 (Live)

Holly Michael:

Great blog post about being truly “alive.”

Originally posted on The River Walk:

Live Empty

Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. (John 14:9)

Read: Luke 3:19-20, John 3:1 – 4:45

Relate: Live.

Jesus and His entourage were on their way into a small little town when they came across a funeral procession headed the other way. It was a poor widow who had just lost her only son. Most of the town was actually in the procession grieving with her. Jesus stopped the group, looked at this widow and said, “Don’t cry.” Then He went up to the casket, looked in, and said…

Live.

Jesus was in His home town of Capernaum. After healing a paralyzed man whose friends tore through the roof to bring Him to Jesus, calling a tax collector to leave His old life behind,  and healing a woman from a bleeding that had put her life on…

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The Crooked Lines of Life

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Holly Michael:

A great look at the past, what’s new, and what’s to come in my life. Amazingly, they all tie in together. Going to be a great rest of 2014 and an amazing 2015! So excited! Thanks for the interview, Sylvia!

Originally posted on Silvia Writes:

Holly1

After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Holly Michael of Wisconsin traveled to South India with her husband and joined hands with the army of volunteers to help in the recovery efforts. Holly’s husband is Bishop Leo Michael, a native of India, whom Holly met when asked to do an interview on the success of a small parish.

Two people from two different cultures, raised on two opposite ends of the world, found they are not so different when linked in the common goal of helping others. We need more like them in the world.

This is the story of Holly Michael, journalist, author, and to me: cherished critique partner. If ever there were a book that embodied love and compassion, a story written in such luminous, deeply personal prose, Crooked Lines is it.

Here is Holly sharing the inspiration behind her story — a short narrative complemented by photos.

Holly4 From…

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